Save with solar in Irvine, California

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Irvine, California

Irvine, which now has a population of more than 200,000 people, was first developed by the Irvine Company, an agricultural company from the 19th century. The economy of Irvine is strongly focused on the technology sector, which benefits from an abundance of educational institutions including campuses from the University of California (UC) and the University of Southern California (USC).

The city of Irvine has a broad range of sustainability programs in the areas of construction material recycling, renewable energy, and water conservation. Recently, the city of Irvine implemented a streamlined permitting process for solar photovoltaic panel systems and solar water heaters.

Additionally, the University of California at Irvine (UCI) operates a 3.2-megawatt (MW) solar panel system, which is composed of more than 11,700 modules and has enough capacity to power 1,800 households. The installation allowed UCI to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 1,500 tons per year, greatly reducing its environmental footprint.

The Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) has also assumed a leadership role in the adoption of solar power by installing more than 5 MW of generation capacity spread across 27 different locations. IUSD expects to save up to $11 million in electricity bills thanks to the energy generated by their solar panel systems.

Solar Power in Irvine, CA

Southern California Edison (SCE), the local utility company, charges tiered electricity prices for most of its residential energy consumers. The utility establishes a consumption threshold for each region served, and bills electricity as follows:

  • All energy below the threshold is billed at 16 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
  • For all consumption between 100% and 400% of the established value, the price is 25 cents/kWh.
  • Above 400% of the established value, the price climbs to 32 cents/kWh.

In Irvine, the consumption threshold subject to the 16 cents/kWh tariff ranges from 9 to 13 kWh/day depending on time of the year and whether the household uses only electricity or a combination of electricity and gas. Tier 1 rates remained stable between 2016 and 2017, but the increase was 2 cents/kWh for Tier 2 and 3 cents/kWh for Tier 3. Because of the tiered electricity prices, Irvine homeowners who consume the most energy are also the ones who can achieve the highest savings with solar panels, especially those with a consumption high enough to reach Tier 3.

While SCE’s pricing structure is complicated, Irvine residents are charged high electricity prices and can save a lot of money by switching to solar. If you cannot afford to pay for solar panels upfront, qualified homeowners can finance their solar systems with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC typically comes with a very low interest rate and a repayment period of 10 years or more. Because Irvine residents can achieve significant energy bills savings by going solar, your solar panel system can pay off the loan itself!

The Solar Investment Tax Credit also makes solar panels more affordable by allowing home and business owners to claim 30% of the total cost of your solar panel system as a federal tax credit as soon as you file your next declaration. Just remember that the full benefit is only available through 2019. If you are considering solar panels for your property, now is the time to buy!